Linked In members who have business interests in the EU are likely pulling their hair out as uncertainty continues to plague the eventual outcome of the current wrangling in Parliament over Brexit.
To get a sense of where the government would like us to be, ‘out’, even this means a no-deal outcome, on 31 October 2019, please note two news items posted to the Gov.uk website this month.
Both concern the consequences of a no-deal deal exit and what businesses need to do to prepare. The first provides information for firms who trade with the EU and not the rest of the world, and no surprises, the second if you trade with the EU and the rest of the world.
A copy of the first letter is reproduced below:
We are writing to you because our records show that you are a VAT registered business and you trade with the EU. This means that you will be affected by changes when the UK leaves the EU on 31 October 2019.
Next steps you need to take to get ready for Brexit
You should now have your EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) number that starts with ‘GB’. You will need this for importing and exporting when we leave the EU. But there is more that you can do to get your business ready.
- use the checklist overleaf to start working through the actions and decisions that you need to make now
- find out if you also need an EU EORI by reading our EORI mythbuster, go to gov.uk/government/publications/hmrc-brexit-communications-resources
- go online to find more detailed step by step guides – for importers, go to gov.uk/prepare-import-to-uk-after-brexit – we really recommend that you consider TSP (Transitional Simplified Procedures) to make your importing as easy as possible – for exporters, go to www.gov.uk/prepare-export-from-uk-after-brexit – focus on understanding what information you’ll need to give to the person you are selling to, so that they can complete the transaction
- keep up-to-date with the latest Brexit news, including details of upcoming webinars we are running on importing and exporting with the EU after 31 October – register for our free email update service, go to gov.uk/hmrc/business-support and select ‘business help and education emails’, then select ‘Brexit’.
Deputy Chief Executive, HMRC
Needless to say, if you follow the links there are copious pages of dense copy to consume.
The split into the two letters is interesting. If you already trade with the rest of the world, you will already have systems in place to cope with the logistical challenges of cross-border trade and should be aware of the customs processes and duties that will be payable.
What is less clear is how EU traders are supposed to absorb the import duty costs if they are unable to pass on these costs to their customers or cope with supply line delays.